• How to Help Your Child Succeed: Helpful Tips for Parents

      • Visit the library regularly.  Give your child the opportunity to see you select books for a variety of purposes.  Make sure your child has his/her own library card.
      • Research indicates that students who read for pleasure for twenty-thirty minutes per day have increased word power and perform better on standardized tests.  
      • Have your child catch you reading.  Not only will your child see you as a role model, but also discussing your interests will foster a reading life.  
      • Read with your child; perhaps obtain two copies of the same book.   Discussing books that you read concurrently will enhance student understanding.  
      • As you read, there are several strategies from which you can choose to increase comprehension.  These include, but are not limited to:

        1. Pause at different parts of a story to encourage your child to express feelings or express opinions about the story.
        2. Ask open-ended questions that have more than one correct answer.  (These usually begin with “How,” “Why,” or “In what way?”)
        3. Discuss unfamiliar words.
        4. Identify an underlying issue in the text and discuss its implications in the world today and to your child, specifically.

      There is no need to employ all of these strategies at one time, but rather frequently include and vary them in the time you spend reading with your child.

      • To encourage writing at home:
        1. Encourage writing for fun and emphasize that it has many purposes.  Use the writing process in the following ways:  story writing, poetry, illustrations, posters, notes, songs, lists, labels, invitations, and greeting cards.
        2. Encourage crafting pieces of writing as gifts to family members.
        3. Keep a family or personal journal or diary.
        4. Keep a dialectic journal with your child where you communicate back-and-forth to one another about varied topics.
        5. Have your child engage in writing contests.
        6. Capture family memories in scrapbooks using illustrations and writing to encourage the “thinking work” of storytelling.  
        7. Encourage letter writing or thank you cards to family members or friends who live far away.

      • To encourage effective speaking and listening:
        1. Model clear speaking and listening and offer simple reminders (make eye contact; speak clearly and loudly; use grade-appropriate vocabulary).
        2. Practice listening without interrupting the speaker.
        3. Make sure your child self-advocates by ordering at a restaurant, asking a question at the store or library.  
        4. Give your child sequential tasks to practice following multi-step directions.